Black Heart

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“SO, this is the man with the black heart!” It was my first time receiving such a greeting – from anyone – much less a distinguished organizational head. Wednesday chapel ended, the guest speaker had found his way from the platform to the early row of students gathering up their textbooks. Stepping before me he had seized my shoulders and…

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Coincidence

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“Yes, this is Art Dodzweit, can I help you?” Thus began for Ann and me our decades-long adventure among an intriguing breed of people called missionaries. But it really started in a Church History class. “Students”, Reverend Jensen, portly and congenial, rolled out our assignment in steady, methodical tones. “On each of your desks you see a list of names…

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Shiftings

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Shifting direction requires more time and space for some. The Willis Brothers made popular a truck-driver song, Give me Forty Acres and I’ll turn this Rig Around. For others, like Leonard Coote, redirection happens in an instant – a one-eighty. Tweakings, adjustments come as life moves forward. Still, the word radical characterizes Leonard’s shift. Peace displaced the turmoil of past…

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A Stilled Mind

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The prophet’s words broke over him like a great wave deluging a child at play on a calm beach – sudden and unforeseen. Overwhelming. One moment all is serene. . . all is chaos the next. Tears surfaced from a bottled place deep within Leonard, like a long-capped reservoir straining for release. The emotion driving the tears was anguish –…

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Undone

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“Splendid dining”, Leonard smiled to the missionary wife. “I’m a lucky chap, finding this home for my lodging.” He nodded gratefully to the family. “I shall now get on with some things”, he offered, and stepped from the room. Entering his own room he rolled his head slowly about and gave his body a long stretch. Moving the few steps…

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Insistent

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The ambitious Brit puzzled his dilemma. “If I’m to make my case that the book this naïve teacher calls holy is simply no more than a collection of fables chock-full of contradictions, I suppose I must fetch a copy for myself.” He mulled the idea. “By Jove, I shall”. The San Antonio College I was drawn to came with a…

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Defining moments

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Non-sectarian. I liked my childhood church, whose wooden benches supplied on their underside, a landing place for my thoroughly-spent chewing gum. Before entering I studied the odd word on the church’s sign-board. I practiced sounded it out well before I knew its meaning – Non-sec-tar-i-an. It was a bold word – a statement declaring our religious identity – holding a…

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Who’s Got This?

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Why is it? I wondered. Why does God, when setting out on a mission, often pass over human schemes. Why does he seem to disregard the confident, presuming “we’ve-got-this” mentality often advanced by his people? He seems almost to chuckle over us humans – our strategies, our denominational fixations. Our rightness – I know I am right, don’t confuse me…

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Baptist Bug

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I took a seat. My underside had barely warmed the church bench when the pastor’s appeal grabbed my attention. Oh, my, I wondered. Are we coming to another offering? “Folks, I feel the Lord wants us to get in on this missionary adventure with Brother Jerry and Sister Ann.” David paused just a moment. “The Louts will need a car…

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Unexplainable

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I’m dreaming, right? Hallucinating? By the time I again took a seat the Preacher-man had shifted from prophesying mode to Holy Ghost fund-raising. I sat quiet, weeping, marinating in a fog of wonder. Rev. G.C. had drawn a bill from his wallet. Waving it to the gathering, he sounded a challenge. “Who’ll join me tonight in getting this young man…

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